It’s been about four months since I’ve become unemployed. I was laid off just three months after getting what I thought was my dream job. Or at least a stepping stone on that path. Now? I don’t know. I have spent the last four months applying to jobs, getting a handful of interviews, and not landing a single job.
I’m not writing this to complain. I’m writing this in hopes of temporarily battling depression. Sometimes, all it takes is one application, one interview, and you have a job. Other times, well, who knows how many applications and interviews it takes. It’s the self-doubt that takes its toll. The questions. The cycle.
Am I applying for the right jobs?
Am I looking in the right place?
Am I as skilled as I thought?
Am I aiming too high?
I could go back to working fast food. I’d make less money than I get from unemployment and still be unable to pay the bills. And I feel like I’ve worked hard enough to be past that. I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Don’t misunderstand. I’m willing to put the work in for a solid career. But I feel like the work that I have put in should matter for something.
Still, I can’t help but feel that I am my biggest enemy. I never feel like I’m good enough. I feel like I shouldn’t get hired. And if I carry that self-doubt, I’m sure it speaks loudly in interviews, cover letters, and applications. Am I the reason I can’t get a job? I know the job market where I live does not favor my skill set. I am a writer in an area where farmers, engineers, machinists, and other skilled labor reigns supreme. I simply have the wrong skills in an industrial focused job market.
The worst part of being unemployed, though, is the lack of purpose. I no longer have anything to look forward to throughout my day. I wake up, walk the dogs, feed them, and then what? Looking for work is depressing when I can’t find anything. But am I not finding anything because I’m not looking hard enough? Because I feel above certain types of work? Because I don’t feel qualified (even if I am) for others? The cycle.
I thought I had a plan. I thought I knew what I wanted to do for a career. Now, just past 30, I don’t know anymore. I’m starting to feel like it’s too late. I couldn’t tell you too late for what. I have no idea what I want to do for work. What I’m willing to do for work. That direction is gone. Lost in the vague day-to-day of being unemployed and unable to find work. And I’m always tired. Just so tired.
There are better days, of course. Depression is not just a one way trip down. You come back up for air sometimes. But depression doesn’t mean I’m sad. It means my world is grey and meaningless. It feels like nothing matters and that everything (and I do mean everything) feels like too much effort. Or I get mad. For no reason. At the drop of a hat. The cycle.
Sometimes, there are no resolutions. I’m writing this just because I need to. Because I’m not the only one impacted by this, and because it’s okay to be depressed. We are not alone. We are never alone. Whether it’s dogs that love you no matter what, a wife that supports you even at your darkest, or friends willing to just listen, you are not alone. I am not alone.
I still wake up every day. Walk and feed the dogs. And figure out how I’m going to make it through today. Eventually, I will find purpose again. But only if I keep searching. I can’t give up. You can’t give up.